So you’ve written something amazing and you want people to read it. It is funny, profound and filled with great information. But nobody is coming over to your blog for a visit.
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t writing a blog for ourselves. We would appreciate an audience. But how does one get an audience, especially when they are first starting out?
You have to network. If people don’t know you are out there, they will never find you.
There are many technical things that can help a person to place higher in the search engines. If you show up on the first page of Google, you will definitely find an audience of people looking for advice and information. But that doesn’t happen overnight.
So what do you focus on first?
You write great content. If you don’t write something of interest, people won’t come back. People want information, but they also want to be entertained. They want to know that when they come over to your blog, they will find something different.
Let’s assume that you already know the basics of blogging. If you don’t, head over to NomadicMatts website and buy his Book How to Make money with Your Travel blog. He has some great tips on how to start your travel blog.
So let’s get on with the post.
I was overwhelmed when we first started trying to get our blog recognized. I had been looking at all these “top travel blog sites” and “lists of the best travel blogs” and said..”I want on that. How do I get on those?”
We are by no means the top of the travel blogging community, but we have slowly started to figure out how to find an audience. We have reached that magic number of over 30,000 views per month. We are nowhere near where we want to be yet, but for a year and a half of work we are happy with our growth.
What we’ve done over the past 18 Months.
1. Write about what you know – We were lucky when we started our travel blog. We had been traveling for almost a decade and had already been to over 30 countries. We had a repertoire of stories that were just waiting to be told. In a sense, we could compete with the “big boys” of travel blogging because we had already done Burma, Laos, Borneo and the rest of South East Asia. We had been through Central America and Africa. People thought that we were already established bloggers. That doesn’t mean we were anything special, we just focused on what we knew; World Travel. But, if you haven’t been around the world don’t worry, focus on your expertise. Maybe you know all about sports of the world, or languages or you are an expert on one destination. If you write about what you know, people will come back. You will become the authority on that subject.
2. Find a Niche – There are a million travel blogs out there. Backpackers, solo travelers, travel couples, you have to find something that makes you unique. What are you passionate about? When you write, are you funny? Are you a straight and to the point type of person, do you like controversy and will rant about anything? We are an adventure travel couple from Canada. A lot of the world doesn’t know the little things about Canada, they think we are the same as the United States. We like to write about that. We also like to write with our hearts on our sleeve and discuss our insecurities, our accomplishments and our struggles. We like to take on extreme adventures are thrilled to be taking part in the Mongol Rally next year to kick start the adventure side of our blog again. With China, India and a 10,000 mile car rally coming up in the next year, we are back on track as being Canada’s Adventure Couple.
3a. Leave insightful Comments – When we first started blogging, we would go to other people’s blogs and see the insightful comments and discussions going on between established Bloggers and we were blown away. Just by going through comment threads, we could pick out who was an authority in the travel market. The more we saw them around the Internet, the more we wanted to read about them. The ones that are big online, are the people that network well. They leave comments that add to the post not just a silly “great post” comment that does nothing for a person.
3b. Join forums – Places like the Travel Blog Exchange, The Travel Writers Exchange and BootsnAll are a great way to get your name out there. Introduce yourself and join the discussion. There are so many places that you can network with other Bloggers. There are even Travel Blog forums on facebook. Find the one that you are comfortable with and start chatting.
4. Write Guest posts – People are always looking for great content. If you approach a larger blog with something that you think would be suitable for their readers, people will most likely say yes. We accept guest posts. When someone emails us an article we read it. If we like it, we post it with their bio and a link back to their website. It not only introduces them to a new audience but brings new readers our way too. So don’t be afraid to approach blogs if you have a great idea, they may just say yes.
5. Write for websites – Take it one step further and write for websites like Matador, GoNomad or write a travel tip for JourneyWoman and put an article up on BootsnAll, This will give you a boost in traffic, build your name and your body of published work. Some larger sites even pay a small amount for your articles. Go for it, start searching for other online travel magazines and send in your submission today.
6. Build a Social Media Presense – Twitter, Stumbleupon and facebook are your friends. People may snub social media, but the referrals you will get from these sites are astounding. People will follow your facebook fanpage because they like you. If you engage with your followers on twitter, you will find that people retweet your posts regularly and drive traffic your way. There are many different Social Media sites to choose from. Some people may love Buzz or Digg. Whatever it may be, choose a couple and focus on them. The most important thing is to be generous. If you spend all your time promoting yourself, nobody will click on your stuff. The more you give, the more you get.
7. Offer an RSS Feed – We had our blog going forever without offering an RSS option (really simple syndication) to our readers. Boy I wish I knew then what I knew now. Give people the option to subscribe to your posts via email. They may not think of coming back for a visit when they are busy but if they subscribe to you and have regular updates in their inbox, they will be reminded to come over and take a look.
8. Persevere – Blogging takes a long time. You have to build an audience and sometimes it takes longer than others. There are some websites that explode over night but for the most part, consistency is the key. Keep posting, keep writing, keep leaving comments, work on building your friendships and contacts on your social media sites, work on becoming a better writer or photographer and stay true to yourself and your vision. Eventually it will pay off.